Thursday, June 14, 2012

Awww, just how dumb are we, Part I

Awww, just how dumb are we, Part I?

            Poor Joe Tarica.  His Sunday Tribune column really stepped in it on Sunday.  True, he took some unwarranted swipes at people in the Central Valley, for which he was rightly chastised, but his column primarily focused on the cigarette-taxing Proposition 29, which proposition tanked because of a terrific campaign by the tobacco companies.  A lot of letter-to-the-editor writers took umbrage and wrote in.  But their letters, for the most part, illustrated just how terrific the tobacco companies’ campaign had been. 
            The Tobacco Boys ran a barrage of ads that paired the words “taxes,” and “bureaucrats/government,” with the winning tag-line, . . . we don’t need more taxes. . . Oooo, those are guaranteed winning words in this tax and government/bureaucracy-hating political climate and sure enough, the brains of millions knee-jerked and their fingers went right to the “NO!” box on the ballot.
            Brilliant.  Especially the use of the “we,” like it’s just us poor freedom-loving citizens against those evil taxers, those evil bureaucrats, forgetting that the vast majority of those “we’s” don’t smoke so would be totally unaffected by the tax.  Nope.  Just the thought of the word “tax” was enough.
            Never mind the point of the tax, or whether it might benefit smokers, or deter them.  Nope.  A tax is a tax is a tax and even the threat of a tax on some other guy is somehow translated by our already-primed brains into a tax on me.  And the letters to the editor showed just how effective Big Tobacco’s strategy had been as they parroted it back.   Said Denny Barringer, “It was an unjust tax.  It targeted the already burdened.  It made no sense.  It wasn’t about making people quit smoking – it was about bureaucracy.”
            Ah, yes, “bureaucracy.” Never mind that it was also about making people quit or never start – price points have a tendency to also be tipping points that can change behavior.  And never mind “unjust.” All taxes can be viewed as “unjust.”  Right now, polls show that the vast majority of Americans support the idea of “unjustly” raising taxes on millionaires.  That’s as “unfair” as slapping a buck on a pack of smokes. 
            No.  Logic had nothing to do with what happens in the lizard brain.  And ours have been carefully primed for years to view taxes as evil, the government as evil and bureaucrats (i.e. anybody who works for the government, even those who provide vital services to the taxpayers) as evil.  So, simply pair those two hot buttons in a primed brain, toss in the “We” to create the false sense that we’re somehow part of what’s being proposed, and there you have it: Guaranteed crash and burn.
            Ah, those Tobacco Boys know what they’re doing!

Awww, Just how dumb are we, Part II

            The Tribune’s been running a series about the plight of our schools.  They’re broke.  Classes are cut to the bone, things like art and music are tossed out the door.  Parents have to hold bake sales to even have a hope of getting their kids a decent education.
            Awwww, too bad.  Now, can we please parse this problem?  Taxes are the price we pay for things we want.  Clearly, for years and years, nobody wanted educated kids.  They couldn’t possibly have felt that was important because they refused to vote to tax themselves so they could have decent schools.  (And the schools themselves refused to deal with their own problems of waste and mismanagement and bad teachers.)  Instead, the constant mantra was (here it is again) the school “bureaucracy” is wasteful, those  rich, fat, “bureaucratic” unionized, money-grubbing teachers are earning too much money, the kids don’t need any “frills,” we don’t need to raise taxes to pay for any of this.  We need to privatize schools, make them more competitive, bust the teacher’s unions, race those wages to the bottom, turn schools  into a for-profit business.
            The result you can see.  Failing public schools, poorly educated kids, parents out selling brownies.  Pathetic.  But you get what you pay for and clearly, as a nation, we ain’t paying for public education.  It’s not important to us because you only educate the next generation if you believe you have a future.  And we no longer believe we do.

Awww, just how dumb are we, Part III?

            The AP reports that health-care spending will be one-fifth of the economy by 2021. Even if the Supremes don’t overturn Obamacare, health care costs, insurance costs, will all continue to rise, despite new efforts at reform that are now resulting in savings.  The costs are being driven by an aging population and the rise of often unnecessary expensive new medical technologies.
            And, of course, a horribly overweight population, with the young kids coming along destined to die cruelly at a far earlier age than their overweight parents.  As I said, we’ve turned ourselves into a country with no future.  Literally.  And a country sadly filling with the next generation: Under-educated , 12year-old kids weighing 200 pounds and already diagnosed with diabetes.
            But when the First Lady plants a garden and urges the country to get off its fat butt and move and eat right, right wing politicos start yelling about The Nanny State.  Propose a tax on sugar and high-fructose corn sugar, or even propose simply stopping subsidies on those lucrative and damaging products, or, better yet, shift those subsidies to fresh fruits and vegetables, and corporate, fake Astroturf organizations and the right wing will arrive in full force braying about “We” (there it is again, that “we”) as in “We don’t need any more taxes.”   
And now the answer to, Awwww, just how dumb are we, Part IV?       

            Meanwhile, Burger King announced they’re rolling out a new summer treat:  The bacon sundae –vanilla soft serve, fudge, caramel, bacon crumbles and a piece of bacon stuck on top.  Logs in at 510 calories, 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar.
            I have no doubt it will be a big hit. 


Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I can't believe that there are no comments here! Great column, so many sad things going on. The tobacco companies really tweaked their message down to a hair. What do you grow if you don't grow tobacco? Plus there are so many legal habits to feed$$$$$$$

As for sugar - try to find a Coca Cola (or Pepsi) bottled in Mexico and made with cane sugar. You can really tell the difference in taste.

As for schools, the AP classes are really skewing who will get into the best colleges. The rich schools offer more of them and the poor schools can afford few of them. So the kids with 4.5+ GPAs get into the top colleges, and the kids from schools that offer little to boost a GPA above a 4.0 are penalized. Many problems need addressing with the schools, but few can decide how to solve the problems when sides are so entrenched on their own position. Lizard brains at work. Compromise is a word that will soon be extinct.

If I come upon a Burger King, sadly, I'll order that bacon sundae. And sadly, I won't eat the 2 lbs of lettuce with low-cal dressing or the 4 apples that would have replaced that 510 calories that day. But I'll probably never eat another bacon sundae as long as I live. Some things must be tried. (I have resisted fried Twinkies though.) I do get your point however.

Well, I still believe we have a future, just a different one.

Anonymous said...

Let's all give thanks that the sewer is finally under construction once more.

Maybe those you thought they could halt this through lawsuits will move to Southern California!

Alon Perlman said...

So much to comment on, where to start?
Hmmm... Un Deux Trois

Anonymous said...

Let's all give thanks to people who live for the sewer and nothing more. God bless you, losers and depressed middle-aged hags who get off on sewer pipes being laid into the ground.

Anonymous said...

They won't move to Southern California because that's where most of them already came from in the past decade+ - every single one of them with the exception of the Tackwards and the Taylors. They are afraid it is going to turn into Southern California, or at least that's what seems to surface along with the other floating flotsam from our septic tanks.

Anonymous said...

How may lawsuits did Ann Calhoun back? Include the PZLDF suit that the Schecker LOCSD Board paid. PZLDF NEVER PAID A DIME for that wasted action! Ann Calhoun has never ever come clean on that lawsuit! That lawsuit did as much to polarize this community than any one aspect!

Did ANY of those lawsuits to stop the sewer ever win? Why are the rest of the community being penalized to pay for those failed lawsuits? Why aren't Juile, Ann and the handful of obstructionists being suited for all the delays they personally caused? I am very angry that I am going to have to pay for the delays and the bankruptcy caused by those few!

But the bottom line is we're finally going to have the much needed sewer!

Anonymous said...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: TW lawsuit
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 08:23:22 -0700
From: XXX

Dear XXX,

We're interested in filing a defamation claim on your behalf. Because Los Osos has a contentious political climate, we are willing to issue you as John Doe in filings against Taxpayers Watch et. al. Also joining the defendants are Barbara Wolcott, Lou Tornatzky, Lynette Tornatzky, Richard LeGros, Judith Reilly, Shirley Devine, Susan Devine, Alon Perlman. Other defendants have yet to be identified via subpoena of IP address and forum accounts.

We're still calculating damages. Please e-mail or fax your testimony to _____ regarding how your image and reputation has been affected by the listed defendants, and specify loss of income, loss of wages etc.



Read more here:

Anonymous said...

Are YOU that crazy?

If anyone should be sued, it should begin with Lisa Schecker and Julie Tacker!

They STOLE our tax dollars to pay their PERSONAL lawyers!

Anonymous said...

Look at all those lawsuits. You'd think Los Osos was full of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Just one, and she's a documented loser. Her clients include Calhoun and the other obstructionists!

Anonymous said...

People shouldn't be drinking hard liquor this early in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Is it late enough to start drinking now?